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Romania stun hosts in Hopman Cup

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Originally published on: 26/02/10 12:57

The 19-year-old overcame world number 13 Sam Stosur 3-6 6-4 6-3 in the opening match before teaming up with Victor Hanescu in the mixed doubles to clinch an unlikely win.

Hanescu had been hampered by cramp towards the end of his closely-fought match with Lleyton Hewitt before succumbing 3-6 6-3 7-6 (7/2) as Australia levelled the tie. But with Cirstea taking centre stage, the eastern Europeans stunned their hosts 7-5 6-1 in the mixed doubles to undermine Australia’s hopes of reaching next Sunday’s final.

Cirstea said afterwards: “I had a very good singles match when I beat Sam, who is 13 in the world, and then going out and playing mixed with Victor for the first time and winning – I cannot expect more than this.”

The only good news for the hosts was the return of Hewitt, who had not played since Shanghai in October as he opted to fully recover from hip surgery ahead of the Australian Open.

The 28-year-old’s ranking dipped to 108 last year as he battled the problem, but after his break the two-time grand slam winner believes he is as fit as he has ever been during his 12-year career and is targeting a return to the world’s top 10.

“Hopefully at some stage (I can break back into the top 10),” Hewitt said.

“Obviously this month the Australian Open is the main goal, not in any particular ranking.

“Throughout the year we’d like to have a crack at the top 10 and try and make the Masters Cup at the end of the year.”

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